On Thursday 10th July 2014, the European Investment Bank welcomed 77 delegates representing 75 countries to debrief on EU development policies in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific regions. EIB President, Werner Hoyer, opened the 11th annual conference at which the ACP Ambassadors were informed about our key financing results in the ACP regions in 2013, and about the future of our operations in the regions, with a focus on eligibility criteria and instruments under the new Impact Financing Envelope.
EIB Vice President Mr Pim Van Ballekom highlighted notable action areas by the Bank in ACP countries, including investment in energy, water, transport and telecommunications infrastructure; support for local entrepreneurs and smaller projects through partnerships with local banks; and climate action – that is, support for investments that cut harmful emissions while boosting resilience to climate change.
Nearly two thirds of the EIB’s existing portfolio in favour of ACP countries goes to the private sector with a tendency to increase; during the day, representatives from the ACP countries reaffirmed the role of the private sector as the engine of growth. Special focus was placed on the potential of microfinance and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in ACP countries. The ACP Secretary General H.E. Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni’s words were poignant: “The time is now ripe for private sector development… Now more than ever, the ACP Group knows exactly where it wants to go in terms of private sector support”. The ACP Group recently adopted a Strategic Framework for Private Sector Development in April 2014, and a mere two months later the Council of Ministers approved a Joint ACP-EU Cooperation Framework for the sector under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF 11).
Representatives from the European Commission (EC) and the European External Action Service (EEAS) presented the EU strategy for private sector development in the forthcoming period 2014-2020 and the conclusions of the EU-Africa summit in April 2014.
Beneficiaries and promoters of EIB loans showcased the impact of the Bank’s funding in the regions. Among them, Mr. Hendrik Hutting, CEO of Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited and Mr. Kaushik Ray, Counsel for the EIB as well as other lenders to the Lake Turkana wind power plant in Kenya; Mr. François-Xavier Poste, CEO of Microcred, Côte d’Ivoire and Mr. Peter Munyiri, CEO, for Family Bank Kenya.
The ACP Ambassadors welcomed and praised the Bank’s operational focus on the private sector and encouraged it to increase its activity and presence in this field, whilst speeding-up its disbursements procedures.For the period 2014-2020, the 11th EDF allocates EUR 1.1bn for the Investment Facility, comprising a replenishment of EUR 500m for the Investment Facility (a revolving fund) and a grant envelope of EUR 634m for Technical Assistance and interest rate subsidies managed by EIB. The EIB is complementing this financing envelope with up to EUR 2.5bn from its own resources for strategic projects in the ACPs. This will allow new commitments of about EUR 1bn per annum until 2020.